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Bailouts for fracking, cruise lines, other non-essential industries the wrong response to coronavirus crisis
WASHINGTON – News reports suggest that in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, President Trump is about to announce a stimulus package of roughly $1 trillion that includes more than $50 billion in subsidies to the airline industry. Previous reports have suggested that the administration may propose bailouts for the fracking, cruise line, and casino industries.
In response, U.S. PIRG’s Tax and Budget advocate R.J. Cross released the following statement:
“The novel coronavirus demands a strong government response to stabilize the daily lives of Americans and the systems we depend on. Congress and the president must focus on addressing the urgent health crisis and meeting the immediate needs of Americans -- not rush through hastily drawn-up bailouts to industries that harm our health or are not essential to Americans’ daily lives right now.
“A national crisis is not the time to bail out industries such as fracking that deepen our country’s reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to global warming. Nor is it the time to spend taxpayer money to support pure luxuries, including cruise lines and casinos. The conversation over the long-term future of industries such as the airlines -- while important -- can and should wait.
“Any emergency funding the government provides in this unprecedented moment should prioritize what is most important:
1) Stopping the crisis. This includes providing more widely available testing and preparing to assist hospitals and health centers with expanding capacity.
2) Helping Americans weather the crisis. This includes direct payments to Americans as soon as possible and guaranteed delivery of basic services including water and power.
“Now is no time to give bailouts to the biggest companies with the loudest lobbyists. Our priorities must be to stop this crisis, help those in need, and ensure that the money we spend today to address the crisis will leave America better and stronger once this is over.”
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